9/11 Stories

Melissa Warren

I was working across the river in Jersey City. I would go through the towers everyday on my commute. I used to work in them, earlier in the year, and interviewed for a job doing the benefits for Windows on the World. I keep thinking, if I was at my old job on the 46th floor, I most likely would have made it. If I had gotten the job at Windows instead of across the river in Jersey City, I’d be dead.

I was early to work that day for a couple of reasons. I must have been under the river when the first plane hit. I went up to the 16th floor at 10 Exchange Place and looking at the clock, saw that I was about ten minutes early. Everyone was looking outside, but not making a really big fuss. They were on the other side of the building. I thought they were looking at a car accident and I didn’t think it would be polite to gawk at someone else’s troubles.

I sat at my desk, reading email. Then I felt and heard, the BOOM. From across the river, I felt it. Everyone was instantly crying and screaming, “That was no accident! I saw the plane deliberately hit it” It was chaos. I slowly walked over to the window, having no idea what I’d see.

It was terrible. I was in shock. Then the alarms sounded for our building to evacuate. I went hysterical when I was downstairs, trying to use my cell, like everyone else. I was lucky, one call went through for a minute. I was lucky again when my boss found me and a few other employees. Everyone walked to the next PATH station, but it was closed. American planes soared overhead, but I couldn’t tell what they were and thinking we were under attack again, started to lose it. I just wanted to go into a field and cover my head.

We walked on to a bus station. It was hodge-podge-people saying, “will you take me here, can I get to there?” I was surprised to hear so many people asking to go into New York, which of course, the driver said was impossible. I wanted to get as far away as possible. On that long walk, I watched the towers crumble. We were all very quiet. So many people were walking, it looked like a war scene.

We made it to Weehawken and spent the day at my boss’s house. There was no where to go, no way to get anyway. Except out of NY. My boss’s house was on the river, across from midtown. I watched the remains of the towers smoke to the south, and directly across, I watched hundreds, probably thousands of people wait for hours to board the ferry that would take them to the dock in Jersey beneath the balcony I was standing on.

Later that evening, my boyfriend got out of Brooklyn, rescued me, and drove me home to Pennsylvania.

I don’t understand such destructive nature.

Melissa Warren